The Alice Behind Wonderland: Book summary and reviews of The Alice Behind Wonderland by Simon Winchester

The Alice Behind Wonderland

By Simon Winchester

The Alice Behind Wonderland
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2011,
    128 pages.

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Book Summary

In the summer of 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church in Oxford, Charles Dodgson--better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll--dressed the six-year-old Alice Liddell in ragamuffin's clothes, and then snapped the camera's shutter.

In The Alice Behind Wonderland, Simon Winchester uses the famous photograph of Alice as the launching pad for an appreciative energetic and penetrating look at the inspiration behind, and the making of, one of the greatest classics of children's literature. Indeed, Winchester shows that Dodgson's love of photography deeply influenced his view of the world, helping to transform this shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world's best-loved observers of childhood. Much like the fictional Alice's world, as the photograph is subject to closer examination, 'Alice Liddell as The Beggar Maid' becomes curiouser and curiouser, capturing a moment during a golden afternoon that would endure forever. 'Alice Liddell as The Beggar Maid' was, in short, the muse that would inspire the creation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Deftly engaging with Dogson's published writings, private diaries, and photography, Winchester weaves together the poignant, turbulent, and entirely fascinating story behind Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Well-founded, witty and perceptive." - Kirkus

"An important addition to the burgeoning collection of Dodgson scholarship, this book will appeal to scholars and general readers and is recommended to all." - Library Journal

"[E]en its more technical aspects are made interesting and accessible by Winchester's always elegant writing." - Booklist

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Author Information

Simon Winchester Author Biography

Simon Winchester, OBE, a British writer, journalist and broadcaster, was born in north London on 28th September 1944, the only child of Bernard and Andrée Winchester (née deWael).

Though not Catholic, he was educated first at a boarding convent in Bridport, Dorset and later at Hardye's School, Dorchester, Dorset. After taking time off to hitch-hike around Canada and the United States for almost a year between leaving school and entering university, he went up to Oxford in 1963, to read geology at St. Catherine's College.

After graduation in 1966 he joined a Canadian mining company, Falconbridge of Africa, and worked as field geologist in Uganda, looking for copper deposits in the foothills of the Ruwenzori Mountains, close to the border with Congo.

He then made a ...

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